Anduril Industries, a disruptive defence technology with Oculus’ Palmer Luckey as one of its co-founders, takes a different approach to the growing challenge of hostile drone activity. Rather than jamming the adversary drone’s control links, capturing it in a net or (seriously) using a trained eagle to wrest the offending drone from its flightpath, the Anduril INTERCEPTOR actually intercepts its target. Directly. And permanently.
Employing artificial intelligence (AI) in its LATTICE AI software, Anduril has worked largely in the border security market to date. LATTICE AI can be integrated into a variety of platforms and hosts – including camera systems, surveillance towers and drones – and has now been incorporated into the newly-revealed INTERCEPTOR, designed from the get-go to identify drones posing a threat or exhibiting hostile behaviour and simply knock them out of the sky. This function can be achieved in a fully autonomous mode or manually, with a human operator always in the loop, depending on the technical, tactical and doctrinal preferences of the end user.
Luckey has commented on Twitter regarding the philosophy behind the development of INTERCEPTOR, development of which is continuing, fuelled by feedback from what the company describes as ‘multiple end-users.’ “The best way to kill fast drones piloted by hostile humans is with even faster drones piloted by AI! […] The United States cannot allow the skies of the world to turn into the Wild West, our ability to take out aerial threats in a matter of seconds is part of the solution […] As a helicopter pilot who supports innovation in areas like VTOL air taxis, flying cars and drone delivery, I believe that heavy drone regulation is not the best way to keep our skies safe […] Criminals and terrorists can ignore the law, but they can't ignore strong defenses.”